Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

Publisher: Hesperus Press
ISBN: 1843913720

In a word - Hilarious!

If you read my review of Advent you'll know that it suffered from a reading break half way through.  The same thing happened with this story, but unlike Advent picking up the story again was seamless.

The story centres around Alan Karlsson who is about to celebrate his 100th birthday, but he'd rather avoid the whole thing and so decides to escape the nursing home by means of the window and shuffle away in his slippers.  He encounters some criminals and makes new friends along the way, all the time pursued by the Police.  Interspersed with this present day storyline is the history of Alan's long and remarkable life.

Somehow, though a series of highly improbable events Alan unwittingly involves himself in many of the major events of the 20th century.  It's a brilliantly inventive way to examine our recent past, though Alan is fictional of course, the dates, times and characters are I believe otherwise accurate.

It is pretty much a farce from start to finish, and I have not laughed at a book so much in ages.  You do have to read this in that light, if you tried to take it seriously I think you'd really struggle with this one.

What I liked most:  Anticipating the next thing Alan was about to do, the surprise when things turn out differently (but better-funnier).  Vladivostock just got funnier and funnier.  Herbert Einstein.

What I liked least: drawing a lot of attention to myself in the restaurant at work laughing about Vladivostock.

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